Safe Spaces on College Campuses
By Kelly Newborn
Safe spaces have become popular in recent years in various sectors of society. The idea of having safe spaces on college campuses has been quite controversial. A critical look at this subject will reveal that both those who advocate for and against this idea have valid reasons.
By definition, a safe space is a designated place where everyone (especially marginalized individuals) can commune with each other and freely express themselves without fear of criticism of their sexual or political orientation, gender identity, race, cultural background as and mental ability. In essence, this place is expected to be a place with different sets of rules, which are aimed at guarding everyone's sense of dignity and self-respect while promoting inclusion and safety.
On the surface, this doesn't seem so much as a problem. It is in practicality that the controversy arises with several dissenting opinions about whether safe spaces are even needed at all or if they have a place on college campuses. As a student, you may be asked to present your opinions about safe spaces on college campuses in an essay, which will most likely be checked with a plagiarism checker owl or other similar tools. You can get help with this by hiring PapersOwl safe and effective writing service to write your essay for you.
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However, although several universities all over the world do have a college safe space, there are still many that do not agree with the idea, with the argument that it can potentially stifle free speech. So let's examine some of the arguments for and against safe spaces.
Freedom of expression
On one side of the argument, safe space advocates say that having them is expected to provide an avenue for marginalized members of the society to find their voice and express themselves without fear. In this sense, minority students who typically are silenced are provided a valuable place to share their thoughts and experiences without prejudice,
On the other hand, those who are against safe spaces on campuses point to the fact that terming a particular space safe means other spaces are regarded as unsafe. This could have a spillover effect on an entire campus and stifle self-expression and freedom of speech, especially of people with parallel or dissenting opinions. In some very extreme cases, there is even a tendency for advocates of free spaces to seek to police language and kick violently against any argument that is against their viewpoint.
The absence of safe spaces on college campuses can cause psychological discomfort, which can impede the learning process. Thus, lecturers are encouraged to make classrooms a safe space by using trigger warnings that let students know whenever a potentially provocative topic or material is to be discussed. Doing this is expected to lower the pressure on marginalized or traumatized individuals without drawing attention away from the topic.
But those who argue against safe spaces say that it elevates feeling over intellectual discovery – one of the main aims of learning. The idea emphasizes on safety and comfort at the expense of debate and an over-dependence on safe spaces in schools will only breed students that are unable to hold sound arguments, which is one of the most vital tools of learning.
Participation, acceptance, and unity
Safe spaces can facilitate unity and acceptance. It encourages the participation of a typically silenced minority by creating an atmosphere that allows them to express their opinion without having their voice drowned in by the noisier majority.
However, when poorly managed, it can also fester segregation and propagate identity politics. If every marginalized group on a college campus were to create their own safe space, what we would end up with is a hostile and highly divisive environment, which is highly unsuitable for learning. Since universities are expected to be hallmarks of diversity, creating distinct physical space may lead to further division rather than unity in the long-run.
At the end of the day, while having to save spaces on campus is intended to increase the acknowledgment of the richness and diversity of a college environment, there is a need for proper definition and management of the idea. This way, we do not sacrifice freedom of expression to achieve inclusion.